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What Schools Can Do for Children With ADHD

General Classroom Supports

Environment-related strategies shown to help children with ADHD include seating the child near the teacher and away from distractions, such as the windows, hallway, or pencil sharpener, and surrounding her with students who focus well on their own work. The teacher may even decide to create a “buddy system” for your child or for the class as a whole, in which children remind one another of academic, behavioral, or social goals and where the class as a whole earns points or tokens that can be traded in for privileges, like a class party. The less distracting your child’s teacher can make your child’s environment, the more likely it is that she will focus better on the task at hand. This way of preventing negative behavior from occurring in the first place is far preferable to trying to “fix” it later.

Your teacher will benefit from keeping the following mantra in mind as she works with your child in the classroom: Keep things simple and doable, keep them interesting, and keep them well structured and organized. Emphasize the positive things that students are doing.

As you have seen, most methods your child’s teacher can implement are likely to benefit all of her students, not just your child. Nearly all children, by nature, are distractible and have problems with organization and staying focused at one time or another, and your child’s peers will profit from the teacher’s efforts to overcome this.

Helpful Teacher Supports For Students With ADHD

Keeping Things Simple and Doable

  • Break down complicated instructions into doable steps.
  • Adjust the length of assignments to fit a student’s attention span.
  • Keep the more academic subjects in the morning, when children are fresher and more alert.

Keeping Things Interesting

  • Teach with enthusiasm and invite class participation.
  • Vary lectures with hands-on experiences and physical activities.
  • Supplement lectures with drills and computer games that teach the same materials to keep things novel, engaging, and motivating.

Keeping Things Organized

  • Clearly state, repeat, and post the classroom rules. It is important for teachers to reinforce following classroom rules by regularly praising students who are complying.
  • Preview the school day with a morning class meeting.
  • Write things down for students who may miss verbal instructions or have trouble copying from the chalkboard.
  • Encourage the use of simple daily planners that do not overwhelm students.
Last Updated
ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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